Jennifer Lopez, Texas A&M University – Commerce

Enrollment Trends in the Agribusiness Systems Career Pathway

Abstract: The number of available career opportunities in the field of agriculture surpass the number of available individuals with a suited educational background. One solution to this variation is to recruit and retain students of underrepresented or nontraditional backgrounds in secondary agriculture, food, and natural resources programs.

The purpose of this study was to determine the trends present in the agribusiness systems career pathway, a career cluster in the secondary agriculture, food and natural resources program. The purpose was also to determine whether there was a difference in enrollment between traditional and nontraditional secondary students in the agribusiness systems pathway. The population for this study consisted of secondary students enrolled in the four agribusiness systems career pathway courses, including the Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources class, in the state of Texas. Data were collected from a Texas Education Agency enrollment report for secondary agriculture, food, and natural resources classes in Texas for the academic years 2013-2014, 2014-2015, and 2015-2016. Data were analyzed using appropriate statistical tests in order to answer research objectives.

It was concluded that there were differences in enrollment between traditional and nontraditional secondary students in the agribusiness systems career pathway. Based on the findings, while there are observable and positive differences in the variation of students in the agribusiness systems career pathway, there is still a need for greater student diversity. Classes in this career pathway like Mathematical Applications in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources form a bridge between knowledge and the skill of being able to apply that knowledge to a real situation. In a world where developing this skill makes a difference in a student’s ability to enter the workforce or continue their education, the agribusiness systems career pathway proves its importance in helping students to develop this skill, no matter the students’ background.

Presentation Author(s):
Jennifer Lopez*

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